The Jaguar FUTURE-TYPE concept covers all of the exciting trends that the company is eager to embrace in “the future.” It’s the car that combines autonomous driving, electric power, a modular interior, and ride-sharing. It’s Jaguar’s vision for 2040. Well, it’s an exercise in marketing buzzwords designed to attract the media before fading into irrelevance. Then will be replaced with a new vision for the next decade. Until the carmaker decided to add an artificial life partner in the shape of a steering wheel, and things got weird.
Jaguar sketched a beautiful vehicle balanced on four pods, covered in opaque glass, and with a narrow body designed for the crowded roads of tomorrow. So far so good. It looks like every other futuristic design for the cars of twenty years from now. The interior checks off all the marketing boxes including face-to-face social seating and personalized entertainment settings, although we do appreciate the luxury wooden finishing and novel door design. The automaker promises that the car can curate your digital environment and connect to your home, work, and play ‘orbits.’ Sigh. Naturally, the company is eager to ignore humdrum questions like insurance liability, sanitation, availability, and cost; future buyers will be more than happy to rent the FUTURE-TYPE as a ride-sharing platform. In fact, you don’t own the car—you own the steering wheel.
Unlike companies like Faraday Future and Lynk & Co that are already trying to design a car that can moonlight as a ride-sharing platform filled with drunken strangers urinating on one of your most expensive possessions, Jaguar promises that access to the FUTURE-TYPE is signified by a special token: Sayer the talking steering wheel. Yes, that brushed aluminum hexagon is ‘Sayer.’ Drunk on buzzwords, Jaguar is happy to announce that Sayer will live in your home as your trusted companion. Live in your home. That’s right, to access your special car you need to lug your steering wheel in and out of the house and then…with you when you leave? But don’t worry, it can talk! Like Knight Rider.
We understand that automakers are grappling with ride-sharing. But car ownership is not going away and sharing a luxury car with strangers, no matter how refined your pool of users is supposed to be, only works when riders know there is a professional service responsible for cleaning and maintaining the vehicles in question. Not the owner. No one wants to remove and carry their steering wheel around wherever they go.
Nice try, Jaguar. You got us to pay attention. Now find a new vision for 2040.